Archive for 'neck and shoulder pain'

Pain Facts

  • Four out of five Americans will suffer from disabling back pain during their lifetimes, according to the National Institutes of Health.
  • Americans spend $86 billion a year on spine treatments (up 65% in a decade), about the same as we spend treating cancer, according to a major study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, yet our backs are not getting better. The percentage of back pain suffers has increased and more of them are reporting physical, social and work limitations. (JAMA – February 13, 2008)
  • Americans spent $20 billion on drugs for back and neck pain in 2005, a 171 percent increase from 1997, while expenditures for narcotic pain relievers increased 423%. (JAMA – February 13, 2008)
  • The proportion of men and women in North Carolina suffering from impairing low back pain has more than doubled since the 1990s, according to a new University of North Carolina medical school study, which strongly suggested that the findings reflect a nationwide trend.
    “Considering the social and economic costs of chronic low back pain, these results are alarming,” said the study’s lead author. The study was published in the February 9 Archives of Internal Medicine. (HealthDay News on Medline Plus – February 10, 2009)
  • According to the National Health Interview Survey, the percentage of people with lower back pain and neck pain which could cause impairment more than doubled between 1997 and 2006. (National Center for Health Statistics)
  • More than 25% of American men and women experience daily pain and pain is estimated to cost the economy over $60 billion a year in lost productivity, according to a Stony Brook (NY) University Medical Center random survey conducted among nearly 4,000 respondents.
    (The Lancet – May 3, 2008)
  • Studies show that chronic pain causes the brain to atrophy. It actually shrinks the brain by as much as 11 percent, equal to the amount of gray matter (the region of the brain that processes information and memory) lost during 10 to 20 years of aging, according to a Northwestern University medical school study.
    Researchers at the school found that back pain lasting six months or longer results in abnormal brain chemistry, reflected in chemical changes in the area of the brain important in social behavior and decision making. (The Journal of Neuroscience – November 23, 2004)
  • More than half of American adults suffered from one or more of 30 conditions that kept them from their typical functions and activities in the workplace or at home for an average of 32.1 days a year, according to a survey analyzed by Harvard Medical School researchers.
    That translates into a total of 3.6 billion days a year, with mental disorders accounting for 1.3 billion days lost. Chronic back and neck pain led to the most days of disability (1.2 billion), followed by major depression (387 million), the researchers found. (Boston Globe – Oct. 1, 2007)
  • Chronic pain can clinically impair your memory and concentration, according to a study conducted at the University of Alberta. (ScienceDaily – May 18, 2007)
  • An estimated 1.2 million spinal surgeries are performed in the U.S. each year, and, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, more than 300,000 of them are spinal fusions, at an average cost of approximately $60,000 each.
  • The spinal products industry is experiencing meteoric growth. Worldwide sales went from less than $100 million in 1990 to $3.5 billion in 2004 and more than $6 billion in 2007. (
  • Recent studies show that the failure rate for back surgeries is extremely high (50% in some studies), prompting a new diagnostic category for the failures: Failed Back Syndrome, the only such diagnosis in medicine.

2006 Voices of Chronic Pain

This survey of chronic pain sufferers who take opoids was conducted in 2006 for the American Pain Foundation

Control Over Chronic Pain

  • More than half of respondents (51%) felt they had little or no control over their pain.
  • Six out of ten patients (60%) said they experience breakthrough pain one or more times daily, severely impacting their quality of life and overall well-being.

Impact on Quality of Life

  • Almost two-thirds (59%) reported an impact on their overall enjoyment of life.
  • More than three quarters of patients (77%) reported feeling depressed.
  • 70% said they have trouble concentrating.
  • 74% said their energy level is impacted by their pain.
  • 86% reported an inability to sleep well.

Impact on Day-to-Day Life

  • More than half (52%) said their chronic pain has put a strain on relationships with family and friends.
  • Nearly 70% said their pain has a great deal of impact on their work.
  • 50% have lost a job due to their chronic pain.
  • More than a quarter (27%) said chronic pain impacts their ability to drive a car.

This survey was conducted by ABC News, USA Today and the Stanford University Medical Center (2005):

Key Findings

  • Excluding minor annoyances, just under half of adults have experienced pain the last two weeks, and nearly four in 10 do so on a regular basis.
  • Six in 10 Americans rate their last experience with pain as moderate or worse, and for about two in 10 – about 40 million individuals – it was severe.
  • Nineteen percent suffer chronic pain, meaning ongoing pain that’s lasted three months
    or more
  • About four in 10 Americans say pain interferes with their mood, activities, sleep, ability to
    work or enjoyment of life.
  • Sixty-three percent of Americans have spoken with a doctor or other medical professional about their pain. While nine in 10 say their doctor understood the problem, many fewer, 59%, say they got a great deal or good amount of pain relief.

Chronic/Severe Pain

  • Problems peak in the chronic, severe and frequent pain populations. People in these high-pain groups are vastly more likely than others to report negative impacts of pain on their lives, and much less likely to feel in control of their pain. (These hold true even when controlled for age.)


  • A quarter of Americans say their last pain experience was with back pain, making it far and away the leading area of pain, followed by pain in the knee (12%), headaches or migraine (9%), and shoulder and leg pain (7% each.) Together these account for 60 % of all pain by location.
  • Back pain is No. 1 across most demographic groups, with the notable exception of women under age 50. It peaks among men (30% say their last pain experience was back pain, compared with 20% of women), and particularly among men age 30-49, who may run the dual risk of being a bit older but still quite active. Back pain is the most-cited pain across all pain groups, peaking slightly among chronic pain sufferers.

Patient Testimonials

Below are stories from some of our patients.
*Please note that individual results may vary due to various underlying causes of pain.

“This procedure has changed my life…”

My name is Daniel, and I suffered with back pain for nine years. I have two degenerative and bulging discs in my lower back. I had numbness in my left leg and extreme pain in my lower back. As a result, I was not able to bend at the waist in any direction without collapsing in pain.

Over the last nine years I have seen many doctors: three general practitioners, three back specialists, three pain specialists, one neurosurgeon, and two physical therapists. They all have tried to help, some with more success than others but no one was able to completely help me. They tried epidurals, facet injections, a direct disc injection, a laparoscopy, and pain management classes.

After my laparoscopy procedure in December 2006 I felt much better. I went back to work in July 2007 and a week later I felt two big pops in my back and all the back pain and leg numbness came back worse then ever before. So off to the doctors I went again. But this time it was different. Dr. P., my pain management doctor, felt that she had tried everything she knew and was thinking I needed a fusion in my back. She referred me back to my neurosurgeon, who felt that I could be suffering from degenerative disc and disc collapsing in the area of the surgery site of the laparoscopy. He wanted me to go to physical therapy for two months and come back to see him if it did not work, at which point he would recommend surgery.

The physical therapist did not feel he could help me, but he did offer to send me to Dr. Norman Marcus at the Norman Marcus Pain Institute. I thought, “Why not? I have tried most everything else.” At the time I thought there was nothing that could help me other than a fusion or disc replacement.

I showed up on a Saturday in November of 2007 in great pain with a limp and unable to bend in any direction. After the procedure the most amazing things started to happen. Within 24 hours I could touch my toes and was walking without a limp. I had two rounds of injections over the next three months and gained full mobility and 95% pain loss. I stopped taking all pain medications for the first time in nine years.

In Feb 2008 I had a relapse. I was putting on my socks and felt something move in my back and all the pain came back with numbness in my left leg, scaring my wife and me to death. Yet again the most amazing thing happened, within 24 hours the numbness was gone and with five days I was back to 90% pain free. Now it is March 6, 2008 and I still am at 85% with stiffness and some pain. But Dr. Marcus said one more round of injection and I will be at 95-100% again. This procedure has changed my life. After nine years I am working and living with the confidence that I can make it. There are so many people out there suffering in pain to the point of wanting to give up and die like I felt. I want them to know how this procedure has changed my life.


“Life is once again bliss…”

It was the morning of the first work day of the new millennium when my life was dramatically changed. I was rear-ended by a fully loaded tractor-trailer. There I was, in the middle of I-85, feeling my muscles stiffening which as time would tell was the onset of chronic pain.

Within 90 days I was on a plethora of pain medications, I had seen several specialists. I had undergone x-rays, CT scans, and hours of physical therapy. The pain had forced me to resign my position as vice president. I was unable to perform many simple activities. The pain was a constant, always present companion in whatever I was doing. All the doctors were capable of was to keep me sedated with medications and keep sending me to physical therapy. I was also becoming depressed.

Over the next seven years, I continued to seek out medical professionals to find someone specializing in muscles. I had no spine damage, no nerve damage, and no damage to my bones. I therefore had no medical specialist to help me. It seemed that there was a specialty for every part of the body except the muscle. I received all types of treatments including nerve blocks, spinal blocks, radio frequency denervations (burning the nerves) and the common trigger points. No matter what the treatment, my back and neck muscles continued to be in constant spasm. The pain kept me from leaving my house and prevented me from driving. I had resorted to wearing a back brace in order to be able to enjoy any activity. Life was dismal for me, my wife and my two young girls.

In March 2007 my life was once again dramatically changed when I was introduced to Dr. Marcus. I was fortunate enough to discover him and was off to New York City as soon as he had an opening. I was amazed with his Muscle Detection Device (I had viewed his entire web site) and patented procedure, but what impressed me the most was that Dr. Marcus is a real person. I knew right away that I was in the right hands and that I was going to be healed. I had two muscles injected on that Monday and that night I could feel that those muscles had been repaired. I was able to finally remove my back brace (I haven’t worn it since) and walk several pain free blocks after the injections. I remember being sore from the injections, but the pain was gone. I received injections in over a dozen muscles during the next two weeks and day by day, muscle by muscle, my pain was eliminated! There were no more spasms. For the first time in seven years my muscles were relaxed. At the end of two weeks I returned to Atlanta pain free.

Although this might not have been following Dr. Marcus’ advice of taking it easy, I was able to not only join my family for a vacation in Florida the following week, but I was able to drive the nine hours after not driving for five years. I was also able to ride a rollercoaster with my 9-year-old at Busch Gardens a few days later.

Life is once again bliss. It has been full of family activities with plenty of long overdue piggy back rides. I am not longer on any medications. I am once again working and being a productive member of society. Dr. Marcus is truly my hero.


“I have a life with my family that is meaningful and without pain…”

Dr. Norman Marcus truly changed the quality of my life. I had been in constant pain due to a herniated disc. After having successful neck surgery my shoulders were still in constant pain.

In November 2006 “Good Morning America” did a feature on Dr. Norman Marcus; I immediately knew that Dr. Marcus was speaking about my situation.

In March of 2007 I spent a week having several treatments in NYC. I experienced Dr. Marcus to be truly thoughtful, kind, thorough and an excellent listener. He took his time locating the source of my muscle problems. The treatment was extraordinarily successful and I have a life with my family that is meaningful and without pain.

The Marcus Institute is truly wonderful. The staff is kind and patient and I immediately felt so comfortable in this office. They truly care about you.

Once the treatment was completed my family and I saw visual changes in my upper body muscles. Besides the visual the improvement was dramatic and has been sustained. I am now approaching the one year anniversary of my treatment with Dr. Norman Marcus.

Twinker M*

Norman Marcus Pain

“I always felt the pain…”

I lived with extreme upper and lower back pain for three years. I had been a weight lifter but had to stop. Whether it was standing, sitting, walking, or even while I was sleeping, I always felt the pain (which caused mood swings). In that time period I tried many things from someone walking on my back to heating pads.

I was finally introduced to Dr Marcus and after two weeks of treatment I am pain free. I can enjoy my activities without pain (which will take getting used to). I can thank Dr. Marcus for that.

Clifford C*

“I am running again…”

Injuries are a fact of life for runners. Does that mean I have to learn how to run and live with pain? Not with Dr. Marcus’ treatment.

None of the previous doctors understood that I was suffering from pain, but gave me medication and therapy sessions. How could a doctor treat any patient without knowing the problem? Dr. Marcus pinpointed the problem and treated it. He does not teach how to live with pain, instead he eliminates the pain.

I am now back on the road and find myself running and competing again, thanks to Dr. Marcus.

Yayoi S*

“I have a much brighter outlook…”

On April 3, 1999 I was involved in a near fatal car crash while working in South Africa. Until that time I was known around the world as a very successful performer, teacher and choreographer.

After four days in a coma, I was left with brain damage as well as damage to my foot, ankle, wrist, arm, back, shoulder, ear and neck, that have presently required nine surgeries, including plates in my foot and arm and a spinal fusion. Not too fun.

After seeing many doctors and trying many therapies I was referred to the Norman Marcus Pain Institute. Following a very pleasant consultation with Dr Marcus, I began a series of treatments including injections, various forms of electrical stimulation, physical therapy and medication.

Dr. Norman Marcus never made any guarantees or spoke down to me but was confident the treatments would be beneficial. I’m glad to report his confidence was well founded. The treatments have resulted in much increased range of motion as well as lessening, and in some cases cessation, of pain.

Thanks to Dr. Marcus I have a much brighter outlook, and look forward to more improvements to come.

Alan O*

“He is an oasis in a sea of white coats…”

To say that Dr. Marcus and his institute changed my life is an understatement- they “saved my life.” I am a chronic pain patient who suffers from Marfan’s Syndrome. The day I met Dr. Marcus, I was writhing in agony after having my left knee replaced (this was my twenty-first operation in my 40 years of life). At the time, I was experiencing so much pain that I felt life itself was no longer worth it. The doctors that surrounded me didn’t understand why I was in so much pain. I yearned for someone in a white coat to listen.

I will never forget the night he walked into my hospital room. Instead of looking at me as a “clinical oddity” or a “drug addict” looking for more pills, he listened to me. Since that night three years ago, he and his staff have helped me handle three subsequent operations. If there is anything he has done for me, it is to treat me like a human being. As a chronic pain patient, one needs to feel that they are not alone; they can overcome their disability and regain the essence of life. For me, this is what Dr. Marcus symbolizes. He is an oasis in a sea of white coats who are yet to understand how to treat people like me.

Since receiving treatment from Dr. Marcus, I have been able to regain life as a professor, researcher and writer. When I look back and ask myself how this was able to come about, I realize that it was because of Dr. Marcus’s belief in the human spirit to survive pain if given the right tools, treatments and resources. The Marcus Pain Institute has the ability to provide hope, when hope seems beyond the realm of reality. Although Dr. Marcus does not have the capacity to “walk on water” yet (although many of his patients would not be surprised if it happened one day), he has the wonderful gifts of compassion, honesty and integrity. These same qualities he has passed down to his staff. Although I still live with some pain, he has taught me how to manage it and live with it.

For this, I will always be grateful.

Christopher H*


In the News – Curing back pain

Back Pain – 3 Great Exercises with Dr. Norman Marcus M.D.

29 April 2013

Tips on Healthly Living with Dr. Norman Marcus demonstrating 3 of the exercises in his book, End Back pain Forever – a groundbreaking approach to elminate your suffering. Back muscles cause pain in 4 distinct ways: tension, weakness & stiffness, spasm, and trigger points.


Curing Back Pain

07 Jan 2012

A clip from NBC’s Today Show with Dr. Norman Marcus and a pain-free patient discussing how back pain can often be cured without surgery or mind-altering medications


Alisyn Camerota reports on New Back Pain Treatment

07 Jan 2012

Alisyn Camerota, the host of Fox News’ ‘Fox & Friends 1st’, reports on a new& very promising, nonsurgical treatment for severe back pain. For more info about the treatment go to


My Aching Back

07 Jan 2012

A film clip from ABC’s Good Morning America, showing how the Muscle Pain Detection Device changed the life of two patients who were totally disabled by persistent back and leg pain and had been considered untreatable.


Easing Back Pain

07 Jan 2012

Harry Smith spoke with Dr. Norman Marcus about tips for preventing and easing back pain.


BuildingNY: Dr. Norman Marcus

14 Jun 2012

Michael Stoler speaks with Dr. Norman Marcus about his most recent book, End Back Pain Forever, as well as a look into Dr. Marcus’s history.


Source of your back, shoulder and neck pain

A 35 year old executive complained of neck and shoulder pain radiating into his fingers along with difficulty using his fingers. His MRI showed bone spurs in his neck which were causing compression of the nerves going into his arm. A neurosurgeon had suggested that he have surgery to remove the spurs and to fuse the vertebra in his neck.

He was given cervical spine epidural steroids and after the 2nd injection his pain and difficulties in his hand were eliminated, but the pain in the region of his shoulder blade persisted. He felt that it was time to revisit the neurosurgeon, but I told him that pain only in the shoulder isn’t typical for a problem in the spine.
Read the rest of this entry


The Blog to Illuminate and Eliminate Chronic Pain

It is my wish to inform patients and colleagues about the possibilities of eliminating pain even when it is thought to be permanent (chronic) or require an invasive proceedure such as surgery, nerve injections, spinal cord stimulation or a morphine pump to achieve any relief.

Our story begins with the recogniton that the current standard of care doesn’t work very well. An article in the Jouranl of the American Medical Association (JAMA), in February, 2008, by Martin, Deyo, et al.. reported that even though the cost of neck and low back pain in the USA increased from $26 billion in 1997 to $86 billion in 2005, there was no improvement in treatment outcome. $86 billion is also the amount we spend on cancer.

Actually patients were reporting that they were more impaired by neck and back pain in 2005 than in 1997. It appears that the reasons that we frequently offer to explain low back pain such as herniated discs, degenerated discs, arthritis, and spinal stenosis, are frequently wrong since treating these so called causes results in no, or partial, temporary improvement. What is missing from the published diagnosis and treatment guidelines for common pain problems such as low back, neck and shoulder pain, is any approach which addresses muscles as the primary source of pain.

In future postings we will look at some reasons why muscles are ignored and what you can do about it.

~ Norman Marcus, MD
Norman Marcus Pain Institute, New York NY
“Your New York City Pain Relief Doctor”
30 East 40th Street - New York, NY 10016
Tel 212-532-7999 Fax 212-532-5957
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